Developers blocked from developing a wind farm in the upper Afan Valley are to put alternative schemes before a planning inspector next month.
In April last year Neath Port Talbot Council refused Gamesa Energy UK’s application for a 15-turbine development at Mynydd y Gelli, near Abergwynfi.
The company appealed and a planning inquiry will be held from July 2.
However, after submitting the appeal Gamesa decided to amend the scheme and has submitted further environmental information to be considered at the hearing.
Neath Port Talbot Council’s head of planning Nicola Pearce said that, while considering the existing scheme to be acceptable, Gamesa had also submitted two alternatives for the inspector to consider.
Mrs Pearce will ask planning committee members tomorrow to consider those alternatives – one of which has two fewer turbines and the other three fewer – and authorise officers to make representations at the inquiry.
Her recommendation is that the authority should oppose both.
“The reduction in the number of turbines will result in only a limited reduction in the effect upon landscape and associated residential amenity,” said Mrs Pearce.
She said the options would still result in major landscape changes and be to the detriment of the character and appearance of the rural landscape.
“It is considered that the proposed options, by virtue of the scale and close proximity to Croeserw, Abergwynfi and Blaengwynfi would result in the development appearing dominant and overwhelming in some cases,” she said.
“Moreover … the turbines will be visible while entering and leaving settlements, creating for residents, a sense of being unable to escape the presence of the turbines and therefore increasing the sense of being imposed upon, to the detriment of the amenity of residents within Croeserw, Blaengwynfi and Abergwynfi.”
Mrs Pearce said there were locations in Croeserw where the proposed turbines would also be seen in conjunction with the existing Ffynnon Oer development and the proposed Pen y Cymoedd wind farm.
“It is considered that the cumulative effects of the options will result in the feeling that the residential dwellings will be surrounded by turbines to the detriment of the amenities of residents within that community,” she added. In conclusion, she said: “Notwithstanding the positive contribution the proposal will make to providing renewable energy, the negative effects on the landscape and residents outweigh any potential local or national benefit.”
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